Rules of the Game: Intentional Knock?

QUESTION: Mindy and Josh are playing in a tournament. On the 3rd hole both players walk to the green where their balls rest. Mindy is farther away and prepares to putt. She asks Josh to mark his ball, which is in her line.  Josh marks the position and then knocks the ball away with his putter instead of lifting it. Mindy says Josh should be penalized for knocking the ball aside rather than lifting it. Is she correct?

ANSWER: In the Rules of Golf, knocking the ball aside is the same as lifting it. However, if knocking it aside was for the purpose of testing the green, there would be a penalty for testing the surface or playing a practice stroke. Mindy is incorrect. See USGA Decisions on the Rules of Golf, 2016-2017, 20-1/22.

Golf clinics continue on Saturday mornings, 10:30-12. Private lessons can also be arranged by calling GMNGC, 422-GOLF. Remember, the swing’s the thing and continuous improvement is what it’s all about.

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